Regarding the conflict between Yosef and the Brothers, chazal comment that because of Yaakovs special treatment of
Yosef, even if only minute, caused the discord and hatred which eventually led to Klal Yisroel being led into Galus and
years of slavery and suffering.
How was Yaakov then, supposed to treat Yosef? If he was indeed special or “next in line”, doesn’t he deserve the special
treatment or preparation Yaakov was giving him? Certainly, Yosef was great in his own right and worked hard to grow and
achieve his level of spirituality. Are chazal saying that we cant praise successful children because we might offend other
children not as successful? Should hard working students not be rewarded because it will make other students feel bad?
On the flip side, research shows that when children and students who are not as successful are praised and rewarded for
their efforts or participation, those who can work hard and achieve lose motivation to work because they know with
minimal effort they can be rewarded. How can we balance this?
I believe the answer is in the pasuk “The Brothers saw that Yaakov loved Yosef more, and hated him”. Perhaps Yaakov
did love Yosef more, perhaps not. What is most important is that the Brothers perception was that Yosef was more loved.
Peoples perceptions become their reality. How could Yaakov give Yosef what he needed while avoid the Brothers
Each one of the Shevatim has their own flag, their own symbol, their own gem on the choshen, their own midda and
derecho, their own way of serving Hashem, and they all reach Hashem and are part of the choshen. In fact, if a shevet is
missing, then Klal Yisroel is not Shalem. Its true, some jobs might be more important than others, but the job of a
Mechanech and parent is to find each childs special and unique contribution and help them realize how intrinsic and
special it is. Certainly trying and effort are important, and every child needs encouragement, but the real task is to help
each child figure out their personal appointed task form Hashem that only they are equipped to accomplish. Yosefs
talents and destiny should (and perhaps must) be acknowledged for his own chinuch, but so does each one of the
Brothers, as does each and every child.
Siblings sometimes ask which one does a parent love more, and many answer, “you are all loved the same”. What does
this statement mean to a child? Again, perception is reality, and so if we are saying that, on a basic level, all siblings are
the same progeny and so loved the same, that is important but a very basic and simple love. Chinuch requires more.
Every child should feel that they are loved the most for their role and contribution, for their attributes, for being
themselves. Each child should feel individually loved for being who they are, and in this way they are all loved the same.
Have a great Shabbos,
Ari Deutscher MSW